BHOPAL: Assembly poll-bound Madhya Pradesh witnessed twin developments on Tuesday which would play a significant role in the politics of the state in the days to come.
The first of the two development happened in state capital Bhopal, where the anti-SC/ST Act outfit SAPAKS (Samanya Pichhra Alpsankhyak Kalyan Samaj) announced launching its political party, the Sapaks Samaj Party (SSP), which will contest all 230 seats in the upcoming polls.
The newly launched political platform will not only have members from the SAPAKS, but also have onboard representatives of dozens of other organizations which have been holding protests across the state against the amended SC/ST Atrocities Act and demanding economic criterion-based reserved system in the country.
Initially, formed as the body of state government employees opposed to the issue of departmental promotion based on caste-based reservations, the SAPAKS has recently emerged as the umbrella outfit which has been spearheading the protest by around 70 outfits of general category and OBC segment against the amended SC/ST Atrocities Act.
On Tuesday, SAPAKS patron and retired IAS officer Hiralal Trivedi was declared the president of the new political party, while names of its four vice-presidents and other office bearers were also finalized. The official flag of the party was also launched on the occasion."
Shortly we would set up our organisational structure at district level and would shortlist candidates for assembly polls," party president Hiralal Trivedi said. On being asked whether there would be any criterion for distribution of tickets, Trivedi said they would accept names suggested by the society collectively.
Party symbol would be announced soon after receiving a nod from the Election Commission, he said adding opposition to the amended SC/ST Act and reservation in promotion would be among key points of the party agenda.
Just a few hours after the launching of the new political party in Bhopal, another significant development happened 370 km away in Kukshi town of tribal dominated Dhar district. A massive gathering of tribals took place at the Kisan Mahapanchayat of tribal outfit JAYS (Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti).
The gathering which was attended by cross section of society, including Vyapam scam whistleblower Dr Anand Rai and the Shahar Qazi of Indore, saw Bollywood actor and ex-Lok Sabha member from Mumbai North seat, Govinda being the star attraction. While maintaining that he wasn't there to support any political cause, but only to attend a social event, the Bollywood actor entertained the gathering with his signature dance moves.
Later, addressing the gathering, the JAYS chief Dr Hiralal Alawa announced that the outfit will contest 70-80 seats in the coming assembly polls and will strive for the government of tribals headed by a tribal CM.
He added that the process of finalizing the candidates is underway and shortly the list of candidates will be declared. The party is focusing on around 80 tribal dominated seats, including the 47 seats reserved for the scheduled tribes.
Importantly, two prominent leaders from opposition Congress, including local MLA Surendra Singh Baghel and Suraj Bhanu Solanki (son of ex-deputy CM Shivbhanu Solanki) too were present at JAYS program.
The twin political developments are significant for the ruling BJP and opposition Congress. While the newly launched SSP is likely to eat into the ruling BJP votes, particularly the Gwalior-Chambal and Vindhya region which have been witnessing widespread anti-SC/ST Act protests, the emergence of JAYS as a serious political player in tribal-dominated seats, especially the Malwa-Nimar region could dent the Congress' traditional tribal vote bank.